Small Colleges and Universities Division

Small Colleges and Universities Division AVP or "Number Two" Mid-Level New Professional Senior Level VP for Student Affairs

The Small Colleges and Universities Division provides leadership in higher education to promote understanding of small college and university missions, challenges, and opportunities. The Division ensures that NASPA's programmatic and policy directions appropriately respond to small institutions – defined as those enrolling less than 5,000 students – and their unique needs.

Message from the Division Director

Welcome to NASPA’s Small Colleges and Universities Division. The SCU Division actively supports student affairs professionals who work at institutions with less than 5,000 students. We invite you to review the SCU website and seek ways to contribute to on-going discussions.

This year, we will continue to ensure that the small college mission is realized within NASPA’s strategic plan. In addition, the SCU Division seeks to broaden our membership base, provide professional development opportunities for mid-level managers and continue mentoring for early career professionals. We take our responsibility as educators seriously, and we invite you to be part of the NASPA small college community. We look forward to hearing from you.

Advisory Board

NASPA's Small Colleges and Universities Division is led by an advisory board comprised of student affairs professionals from small colleges and universities located throughout all of NASPA's seven regions.  They are eager to hear from you and to get  you connected with the Division's membership and initiatives.

Early Career Development Institute

NASPA's Small Colleges and Universities (SCU) Division is proud to offer this low-cost and high-quality programming to professionals in the early stages of their career. SCUs have very unique needs and often have limited resources devoted to professional development for staff.

The Early Career Development Institute (ECDI) is a signature initiative to provide new, full-time professionals in their first three (3) years in the field an opportunity to connect with peers and senior staff members at SCUs and to explore specific competencies essential for practitioners.

The ECDI program will connect a cohort of professionals to attend monthly webinars to discuss issues, trends, and promising practices within the field. Participants will additionally be matched in a group with a senior-level staff member to serve as their coach. Each group will have time allotted in the monthly webinars to debrief and reflect on the topic at hand.

Institute Goals

  • To provide opportunities for new professionals to network via a virtual platform with early career professionals at small colleges and universities across the county.
  • To provide coaching opportunities for early-career professionals with senior-level student affairs professionals who have demonstrated a significant professional commitment to the field of student affairs.
  • To provide purposeful opportunities for personal goal setting and self-reflection.
  • To provide participants with online development offerings, which run from October to June. Each session will be focused on a specific content area and presented by a practitioner with expertise in that topic.

Institute Curriculum

Institute participants will attend online professional development sessions that address the following topics:

  • Communicating with different campus constituents
  • Managing, leading, and navigating institutional politics
  • Engaging faculty
  • Enrollment, persistence, and completion
  • Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Fundraising and giving
  • And Much More!

ECDI Participant Requirements

ECDI participants must:

  • Be within their first three years in a full-time professional position in Student Affairs.
  • Work at a small college or university (defined as less than 5,000 FTE students)
  • Be a NASPA member
  • Provide a letter of support from their current supervisor in support of their participation in ECDI
  • Provide a current resume

Senior-level Coach Requirements

ECDI senior-level coaches must:

  • Hold a position at the director level or higher at a small college or university with fewer than 5,000 students.
  • Meet not less frequently than monthly by phone or videoconference with their assigned early career cohort member.
  • Complete the Early Career Development Institute Coach Interest Form.

Institute Fee

The participation fee for the institute is $50.00. Selected participants will be directed to the online fee collection process after being selected. There is no fee to apply. (Coaches do not pay any fees.)


August 10, 2022 Applications Available
September 16, 2022 Application Deadline
September 23, 2022 Selection Notification
October 2022

Online Cohort Onboarding Session

Preflecting on the ECDI Journey:

  • A Conversation with the SCU Director
  • An Introduction to NASPA & the Division
  • Comparing & Contrasting Small Colleges & Universities: Similarities & Differences
  • Meet the Coaches
November 2022

Online Professional Development Offering #1

Know Your Audience: Communicating with Different Campus Constituents

January 2023

Online Professional Development Offering #2

Up, Down, & Across: Managing, Leading, & Navigating Politics at Small Colleges & Universities

February 2023

Online Professional Development Offering #3

Across the Divide: Engaging Faculty at Small Colleges & Universities

March 2023

Online Professional Development Offering #4

Enrollment, Persistence, & Retention at Small Colleges & Universities

April 2023

Online Professional Development Offering #5

Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion at Small Colleges & Universities

May 2023

Online Professional Development Offering #6

Fundraising & Giving at Small Colleges & Universities

June 2023

Online Cohort Closing Session

Reflecting on the ECDI Journey:

  • Continuing Your Involvement with NASPA and the SCU Division



To apply to be part of the 2022-2023 ECDI cohort, please click here.


If you have questions about this program or the process, please contact Kerry Greenstein, Dean of Student Life at Sweet Briar College ([email protected]), and Brett Bruner, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management/Dean of Students at Missouri Western State University ([email protected]).

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Subscribe to the NASPA Small Colleges and Universities Listserv

The NASPA Small Colleges and Universities Division has an active listserv that allows student affairs professionals to ask questions, request information, and share effective practices.  To subscribe to the listserv, please send an email message to [email protected] and be sure to mention in the message that you wish to be subscribed to the small colleges and universities listserv.

Volunteer Central

There are many ways to get involved with the Small Colleges and Universities Division! Volunteer opportunities exist at the regional and national level. If you’re interested to learn more about how to get involved with Division programs and activities, please sign up via Volunteer Central.

Recent Blogs


One of the best resources available to you is the wide range of professional development opportunities. This list contains both our “Hosted Events,” workshops and webinars that we plan and manage, and some “Related Events,” hosted by the NASPA Central Office or other NASPA Constituent Groups. To see a full listing of NASPA events, please see the Events page.